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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CLIFFORD MURRAY (03/31/77)

decided: March 31, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
CLIFFORD MURRAY, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence imposed May 10, 1976, of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, Criminal Section, of Philadelphia County, at Nos. 1823, 1824 of December Term, 1975. No. 1740 October Term, 1976.

COUNSEL

John W. Packel, Assistant Public Defender, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Steven H. Goldblatt and Deborah E. Glass, Assistant District Attorneys, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Hoffman, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Jacobs

[ 246 Pa. Super. Page 425]

On February 24, 1976, appellant was found guilty following a non-jury trial in which one indictment charged appellant with theft by unlawful taking or disposition*fn1 and receiving stolen property,*fn2 and another indictment charged appellant with criminal conspiracy.*fn3 Appellant was sentenced to concurrent six to twenty-three month prison terms on both bills of indictment. This appeal followed. We find the evidence to be sufficient to sustain both convictions, and affirm.

In considering appellant's assertion that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions, we must review the evidence in a light most favorable to the Commonwealth. Commonwealth v. Rife, 454 Pa. 506, 312 A.2d 406 (1974). In so viewing the evidence, the following facts were established at trial: Mr. Glen Mouzon returned to his home in Philadelphia at 10:00 p. m.

[ 246 Pa. Super. Page 426]

    on the evening of November 29, 1975. He parked his automobile, a 1966 Buick, in front of his home. At approximately 10:30 p. m., he discovered that his car was missing. He thereafter notified the police. At approximately 1:00 a. m. in the morning of November 30, Officer Michael Mumper arrived at Mr. Mouzon's home where he was given the license number and a description of the missing auto. In addition, Mr. Mouzon testified that he had locked the doors of his automobile, and that he had not given anyone permission to use it.

At 2:00 a. m. of the same morning, Officer Mumper, sitting in his patrol car only two blocks from Mr. Mouzon's home, spotted a car fitting the description of the stolen vehicle. The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed as it went past Officer Mumper, who immediately gave chase. With the lights of his patrol car flashing, Officer Mumper pursued the speeding vehicle for a short distance down York Street until, in the middle of the block, the vehicle stopped with its rear portion sticking out into the one lane street. The two male occupants of the vehicle jumped out and fled down York Street. Officer Mumper also exited his patrol car and pursued the two men. He testified that at this point he was approximately twenty feet behind the men.

The chase continued down York Street until the two men split up. One man continued running down the street and the other one, identified as the defendant, ran into a local bar. Officer Mumper ran into the bar seconds later, to see a man he recognized as one of the men he chased sitting at the bar. A back-up team of officers was summoned and arrived on the scene within a minute, at which time appellant was arrested and the entire bar was searched. Officer Mumper testified that he examined the vehicle from which the two men had alighted, which in fact turned out to be Mr. Mouzon's automobile, and discovered that no keys were in the ignition and that

[ 246 Pa. Super. Page 427]

    the ignition wires were hanging down ...


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